Researchers at Volkswagen have revealed that they are exploring the use of quantum computing to develop next generation high performance electric vehicle batteries
The group – which will be reporting on its quantum computing work at next week’s CEBIT technology show (June 12 – 15, Hanover) – has already used a quantum computer to simulate molecules such as lithium-hydrogen and carbon chain and is now working on more complex chemical compounds. It is collaborating on the work with experts from technology partners Google and D-Wave.
The company said the ultimate aim is to simulate the chemical structure of a complete electric vehicle battery, and develop a “tailor-made battery”, a configurable chemical blueprint that is ready for production.
The team has laid the foundation for this using newly developed quantum algorithms, which could eventually be used to simulate the chemical composition of a battery on the basis of different criteria such as weight reduction, maximum power density or cell assembly and provide a design which could be used directly for production. This would significantly accelerate the battery development process, which has been time-consuming and resource-intensive to date.
“We are working hard to develop the potential of quantum computers for Volkswagen,” said Florian Neukart, principle scientist at Volkswagen’s CODE Lab. “The simulation of electrochemical materials is an important project in this context. In this field, we are performing genuine pioneering work. We are convinced that commercially available quantum computers will open up previously unimaginable opportunities. We intend to acquire the specialist knowledge we need for this purpose now.”
Commenting on where the project fits into the company’s broader plans, Volkswagen CIO Martin Hofmann said: “We are focusing on the modernisation of IT systems throughout the Group. The objective is to intensify the digitalisation of work processes – to make them simpler, more secure and more efficient and to support new business models. This is why we are combining our core task with the introduction of specific key technologies for Volkswagen. These include the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as quantum computing.”